Fatal Drug Overdoses Play a Role in Rise in Accidental Deaths
The rate of accidental deaths in the United States is rising, fueled in part by the opioid painkiller and heroin epidemic, according to a new report by the National Safety Council.
The report found poisonings, largely from drug overdoses and prescription opioids, are the leading cause of preventable death among adults ages 25 to 64.
More than 136,000 people died accidentally in the United States in 2014, the highest number ever recorded, NPR reports. The accidental death rate increased 4.2 percent from the previous year and 57 percent since 1992.
More than 42,000 people died from overdose and accidental poisoning in 2014—quadruple the number of poisoning deaths in 1998. In contrast, motor vehicle crashes killed 35,398 in 2014—22 percent fewer than a decade ago. In 1980, more than 53,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes.
Deaths from falls, such as slipping on a kitchen or bathroom floor, also have increased significantly in recent years, reaching almost 32,000 in 2014.